HOUSTON—Brendan Dooley has braved the nylon 6/6 market and lived to tell the tale.
The IHS Markit analyst commented on the market for that hard-to-find resin as well as other engineering resins at Global Plastics Summit 2019, June 4-6 in Houston.
Nylon 6/6 has been in short supply for more than a year because of global feedstock issues. Dooley said that the material "is short, but pretty balanced" with global operating rates of 80 percent.
In addition, the nylon 6/6 market has been affected by hurricanes, cold weather, droughts and labor strife. Dooley said the nylon 6/6 chain has experienced 16 disruptions in the last couple of years.
But capacity additions for both nylon 6/6 resin and for adiponitrile (ADN) feedstock should bring relief to the market as soon as 2020, when Dooley said 6/6 will be competitive with nylon 6.
"We can just about see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
But until then, higher prices and tight supplies will be expected for 6/6.
"Buyers who had to have the material have had to pay a higher price," Dooley added.
By comparison, nylon 6 "is in global oversupply and will continue to be for quite some time," according to Dooley. Operating rates for the material are a little over 60 percent, a level which he said "is too low for profit."
Polycarbonate resin was in short supply as recently as 2016, but was oversupplied by 2018 as a result of a 30 percent global capacity addition. Most of that new capacity was added in China.
Polycarbonate operating rates in turn have dropped from 80 percent to close to 60. Prices that had been high also have declined.
The global acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin market is experiencing some tightness, Dooley said, with demand growing at a faster rate than capacity growth. The market remains centered in Asia, where 70 percent of global production is located.